Women struggling with need to please (SMH)

Psychology Today blog article by Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D. (JUne 2009)

"When asked, people think that novel, uncertain events will be less pleasurable than feeling absolutely certain and possessing every bit of information possible in a situation. However, scientists are finding that when events are new and uncertain our pleasure is more likely to be intense; it will linger longer and be more meaningful. What this means is that most of us are doing the exact opposite of what will bring us fulfillment."

This blog echoes others I have read, Hugh Mackay,1 Charles Handy, William Butler Yeats2, Jane Roberts3 et al, in that handling surprise, challenge and difficulty is the stuff of life. It's why we're here. To learn, stretch and grow.

It's a common theme for success. As Lolly Daskal explains "By listening to your inner self and following your compass within,  you will find a life that is aligned with your talents, truth and values."

As Todd explains:

"How can you thrive in an uncertain, unpredictable, rapidly evolving world?

Explore your deepest, most central values by devoting time for introspection. Schedule this time as you would your workout sessions and doctor appointments."

I wrote in Be and Become that to handle uncertainty effectively, it behoves one to remain centred; to enable our internal gyroscope (values, beliefs) to steady our stance as the ship of life rocks and rolls in turbulent seas. Most hang on to the ships structure (ego, material things), losing a sense of direction, purpose and stability, and ultimately left feeling at the mercy of the elements. Steve Chandler explains that we hang on to our personalities at the expense of relationships, commitments and results.

Fiona Smith reports that "Happiness isn't enough - if you want to really flourish, you have to be prepared to be negative too."4

In an interview with Prof. Barbar Fredrickson (author, Positivity), Fiona reports that "experiencing negative emotions is crucial for mental social health." Fredrickson explains "'Research suggests that negative emotions are a very critical ingredient in flourishing. The honest expression of negative emotions is vital,' she says via phone from the US."

I believe it's also important to trust that which extends beyond ourselves ... the wider community, and our wider-than-thought (at-once, nonlocal) intuition.

Todd concludes:

"Forget about the pursuit of happiness. Create a life that matters and you might catch happiness along the way.

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoidance of danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
~Helen Keller~"

Additional good stuff

This from Hugh Mackay:

“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

  • 1. "I just want my kids to be happy," I hear people say, as if happy kids are part of their perfect picture of themselves. But what a dreadful fate to befall anyone, just being happy. What about anguish, despair, panic and pain? Shouldn't our offspring experience the lot? "We grow through pain," we say, mining the wisdom of the ages and mouthing it like a slogan. But then we expect our every pain to be eased instantaneously: "Quick, a pill! I need perfect happiness!"


Brainstorming won't bring you good ideas (Smith - AFR)

Another excellent article by Fiona Smith.

Many good ideas, truisms concerning creativity, and the illusions concerning the creative process.

Smith reports:"Many organisations, trying to foster innovation, for example, create complex processes to encourage the generation of ideas, but those processes ignore the way breakthroughs emerge."

Smith quotes Johnnie Moore:

Little white lies found to be a health hazard

Just read an interesting (though unsurprising) report on how being honest is the best medicine for good health and wellbeing.

"We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health."

Who would have thought.

A while back I finally figured out that rather than ignoring reality, or sneaking around, being upfront and open is the easiest way to be. It takes far less energy to simply be honest. I've found that it sort of "innoculates" me against other people's negative opinions, for a number of reasons. It's like honesty create this invisible 'shield' that is impervious to onslaught.

Small right, not quite there

A recent article in the SMH was headlined "Scientists find secret of why women live longer"

in which it is claimed

''This difference is not caused by hormonal differences between the sexes, such as testosterone in males, or to risk-taking behaviour. It's genetic.''

That only partly "explains" the difference -- as is now well established, psycho-social factors are by far the most important determinant in how well and long we live.

Points about points

I was recently contacted regarding my work -- primarily concerning materials on the Belief Institute website.

The person (supportive of my work) sent me a list of 'points' by another critic who argues good articles, or beliefs should comply to various conditions:

Here's my reply to those 'points'.

  1. should not contain tautologies;

    English is a rich language, and while tautologies are a useful concept, the fact that one can frame an idea or concept (there's one now) differently using different words/approaches, reveals greater nuance to the concept or idea. Pun intended. So I wouldn't get too concerned about grammatical correctness.

  2. should not contain notion-metaphor transmutations (e.g., "power" it is a concept in Physics, but being used in Psychology, say, as "power of imagination", it becomes a metaphor);

    Well, this is a poor point. We don't know what causes 'power' in physics.

    We know now with around 30 years of research data from Princeton's PEAR that our minds have the power (physical) to move objects.

    "The enormous databases produced by PEAR provide clear evidence that human thought and emotion can produce measureable influences on physical reality. The researchers have also developed several theoretical models that attempt to accommodate the empirical results, which cannot be explained by any currently recognized scientific model."

    So psychological power is related to physical power. To say otherwise would require certain (incorrect) assumptions to be correct. Which they aren't. E.g. the power to collapse the wave-function.

    Better that you don't get me started on this one ... :)

Most superstitious era in history?

In view of my awkward question concerning the deeper nature of physical movement, in various forums I've received what appears to be unanimous negative responses. Some quite vitriolic and abusive.

It seems then that there is an argument to be made that we're living through one of, or perhaps THE most superstitious era in history.

Many scientists often lambaste the church for what they did to Galileo, and prior to him Giordano Bruno. Many argue the demonstrated 'closed-mindedness' of the church held back scientific advancement to a considerable degree.

Unfettered scientific inquiry? Hardly.

I recently posted a genuine question on a scientific forum website and was told to ... well, piss off, basically. I believe it has validity, and would help scientists resolve the issue of the "missing dark matter" that is one of the key problems in cosmology, and astrophysics.

I suspect the account suspension was motivated by the fear the question invokes, in a similar but lesser degree to the highly-superstitious and incoherent responses to this question (see below).

Throughout the ages, asking questions has been shown to be the root tool by which human culture has advanced. Unfortunately, the shutting down of the ability to ask questions by a culture usually heralds that culture's demise.

Back to that scientific forum ... here's the rather interesting reply I got, and the question hat caused my account to be suspended:

Your ____________ account has been suspended due to incorrect use. You posted the following question in Astronomy and Astrophysics:

"It seems I asked the following question on the wrong forum (particle physics). It was deleted. Perhaps before being deleted here, someone might suggest an appropriate forum?

According to David Deutsch of Oxford, "single-particle interference phenomena unequivocally rule out the possibility that the tangible universe around is all that exists."

According to some interpretations, the double-slit results occur due to the influence of what Deutsch calls "shadow particles". (Paraphrasing Deutsch, superpositions have to be 'made' of something that is, in some sense, tangibly real, or sufficiently real to cause real interference effects in said experiments).

Why doesn't that interpretation 'scale up' and account for "Dark Matter" (ie. shadow galaxies etc.), which in turn would account for how the distribution of galaxies would be, and has been found to be fractal ("studies we have done show that the distribution of matter is fractal, just like a tree or a cloud." [Francesco Sylos Labini]).

If it's a 'dumb question' perhaps someone would be so courteous to explain why, rather than simply delete it, as was done elsewhere."

Leading God: Raw Individuality

At a dinner party recently I explained that "genuine creativity leads God", in that everyone else (including God1) is genuinely, gob-smackingly surprised by our raw originality.

One woman was deeply shocked and horrified by the idea. She said she completely "shut down" with regards to anything else I had to say. Golly.